After knocking out miles and miles, I took a breather to the mountains of Asheville, N.C. I wasn’t sure how to “recap” three months of training and 3+ hours of completing a marathon.
I conquered the 26.2 miles on the painfully hilly course in Atlanta, and I am proud to say I survived for the most part, injury-free. I managed a 3:42 time and had it not been for the hills – dare I say – I could have shaved off a few minutes. Told you, I am competitive. (Feel free to look up the time kiddies)
Things your mama never told you about a marathon:
- Training was hard f*n work. You have to buckle down and commit. Long runs on the weekend eat into your normal schedule, but somewhere along the way you learn to sacrifice and listen more to your body. I kept spinning and swimming, shaving off a few miles during the week, but keeping my endurance training high.
- The race was lonely at times. There are many miles to cover and once you lose the momentum from the half marathon crowd, the back miles can be a bit abusive on the psyche.
- Never underestimate a “good luck.” I was surrounded by friends and family during the race, and well wishes from friends keep you chugging through the miles.
- I wanted to slow down around mile 20 and give in to the burning muscles, but I knew that if I did not finish in 4 hours I would have to do the whole marathon thing all over again. Onward and upward.
- Post-race ego inflation.. There is something about lining up in the corrals with fellow racers and looking around at bibs to see who’s marked to run with the big dogs. I absolutely enjoyed slapping that 26.2 magnet on my car.
- The day after the race, OK maybe minutes after, it felt like I had run into a wall, even sleeping hurt. Day 2, I was lightly (very lightly) cycling to churn the lactic acid out of my body. Day 4, I was on a five mile hike through part of the Appalachian Trail.
I would not change a moment of this challenge. In hindsight I could have taken it easier on my diet and exercise the last week of training, but sometimes nerves get the best of you. I’ve run a lot of races, done a lot of fun things, but the congrats you receive after finishing a marathon quadruples anything I’ve ever accomplished. Certainly a highlight I’ll look back on fondly.
“We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.” Emil Zatopek
What’s next? It’s been a week and Andrew already has another goal for me. I’m certifiable, I know.
A few things I’m keeping on my radar:
– Explore yoga and pilates at least two times a week. After pounding pavement for months, it’s time to be more gentle to my body and refocus on strengthening my core.
– Form and function. The Audrey Hepburn of running I am not. After the first dozen miles “graceful” is not how I would describe my running technique. After looking at race photos it’s time to upgrade my outfits and my style. And time to read-up on foot and heel planting.
– Running for fun. Just picking up and going for me, not a schedule.
I still can’t believe I had the brass to run a marathon and for those considering a 26.2 challenge, it’s well worth the reward you receive when crossing that finish line.
Thank you ALL for following my rants and journey along the way. Air high-fives!
Here’s to spring, tri season and trying something new!